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FACT SHEET: June Employment Report, Likely Impact of Census Hiring Patterns

Jul 01 2010

On Friday, July 2, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its June employment report, showing the net number of jobs created or lost during the month of June as well as the unemployment rate.  The June report is expected to show a significant decrease in the number of temporary Census positions, based on historical data for the 2000 and 1990 censuses, as well as weekly reporting on actual 2010 Census hiring currently available on the Census website.   The decline in Census hiring is likely to be large enough to show a net decline in total nonfarm jobs (private sector + government) for the month of June.  This was the case in June in four of the last five Census years, including June 2000, when the economy lost 46,000 jobs.[1]


The U.S. Census Bureau collects data for the decennial census, as directed by the U.S. Constitution.  Temporary workers are hired to canvass households.  The hiring of temporary workers traditionally reaches its highest level in May.  Census employment then declines throughout the rest of the year.  For example, in May 2000, the number of temporary Census workers increased by 348,000.  In the next month, June 2000, the number of Census workers declined by 225,000 workers.  Similarly, in May 1990, 182,000 temporary Census workers were added, and in June 1990, the number of Census workers decreased by 84,000.[2]  In both 2000 and 1990, Census employment declined every month after May.


Through the first five months of 2010, Census hiring and employment have been comparable to the same time period in 2000.  From January-May 2010, 549,000 temporary Census workers were added, compared to 515,000 temporary Census workers added during the first five months of 2000.[3]  Data from the 2010 Census website show that 344,157 Census workers were paid during the week of June 6-12, the week in which BLS conducts its Current Employment Statistics survey.  This figure compares to 573,779 paid Census workers a month earlier, during the week of May 9-15.[4] The data indicate that the number of Census workers declined by almost 230,000 from the second week of May to the second week of June.[5]

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Establishment Survey (generally conducted during the second week of the month).

[2] “Census 2010 temporary and intermittent workers and Federal government employment,” Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Number of Temporary 2010 Census Workers Paid by Week and Census Region,” U.S. Census Bureau.

[5] Though BLS and Census Bureau data show the same trend in Census employment, historically, the data do not exactly correspond.

Prepared by the Joint Economic Committee Majority Staff

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